Dangerous Road Accidents and Highway Safety Lawyers in Seattle
Accidents are not only caused by driver negligence. Sometimes the roadways themselves are unsafe. Examples of highway design flaws include unnecessarily sharp curves, lack of guardrails, missing warning signs, unsafe intersections, a lack of sidewalks, and more conditions that make the road hazardous.
Examples of road maintenance problems include potholes, overgrown vegetation that obstructs sight distance or impedes drainage, or inadequate traffic controls during road work. Sometimes there is a history of collisions, pointing to a continuing disregard for the safety of the public.
At Stritmatter, we care a lot about highway safety. Our biggest reason for caring is that we’ve seen a lot of horrible things happen to innocent people simply because a road or highway was designed in an ill-conceived way. Accidents happen all the time on Highway 2, Interstate 5, I-90, I-405, downtown Seattle, and most infamously, Aurora Avenue North. Because of these avoidable tragedies, many of which we learn about only when someone gets into a catastrophic accident, we are passionate about making roads safer.
Related: Car accidents
Can You Sue Washington State Cities and Counties for Highway Crashes?
Governmental entities like Washington State, as well as counties and cities, collect billions of dollars in taxes that are used to create and maintain roadways in our state. The law is clear in Washington: State, county, and city street and highway departments have a “duty to provide reasonably safe roads, and this duty includes the duty to safeguard against an inherently dangerous or misleading condition.”
See also: Government negligence
To fulfill this duty, the state and local governments must eliminate hazards and other dangerous conditions that pose a threat to the lives and safety of drivers. For example, constructing sufficient guardrails and median barriers, maintaining clear zones on the shoulders of highways, warning of hazardous conditions by placing warning signs in the appropriate locations, and providing adequate traffic controls at crosswalks so that drivers are alerted when there is a pedestrian present.
Types of Highway Accidents
Highway safety cases fall into three overarching categories:
- The road was inadequate upon its construction. An example would be a road immediately bordered with trees or utility poles.
- Due to changes in design standards, a road may fall drastically below the current requirements for roadway safety.
- State and local governments have a duty to monitor and respond to conditions that did not exist at the time of the road’s construction. Examples may include significantly increased traffic volumes, a new school requiring kids to cross a busy intersection, or a steady pattern of accidents in a particular location.
Stritmatter Lawyers Are Experts in Highway Safety Cases
Our attorneys employ top engineering, safety, and human factors experts in the field when handling dangerous roads cases. Many of our cases have established important precedents regarding governmental entities’ duties with regard to road design and maintenance. We are committed to bringing justice to victims injured in preventable collisions caused by state and local governments’ substandard level of care in maintaining and constructing our roads. We are invested in holding governmental agencies accountable for their negligence and reducing the number of victims seriously injured on the roads. As a result of our work, not only have victims received justice, but governmental entities have made roadways safer for the general public.